40% of Torontonians would pay to work from "third place" after pandemic: study

May 10 2021, 3:29 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly flipped the entire work culture upside down, and a new study shows that 40% of Torontonians would be willing to pay to work somewhere that isn’t their home or office.

According to a new study from Accenture, the global professional services company, 95% of global consumers surveyed said they made at least one change to their working lifestyle that they expect will be permanent, even after the pandemic subsides.

The study funnels the work culture down to remote Toronto workers, of which 40% of respondents said they would be willing to pay to work from a “third space” — a location other than their home or place of employment.

Accenture defines the “third space” as a cafe, bar, hotel, or retailer with a dedicated space for remote workers.

Of the Toronto respondents, 77% of telecommuting workers say they would like to occasionally work from this “third space” in general, not including paying for it themselves.

The survey found that 30% of Canadians who will continue to telework after the pandemic said they would be willing to pay a fee out of their own pockets to work from a cafe, bar, hotel, or retailer with a dedicated space, highlighting a potential opportunity to grow revenue for the hospitality and retail industries.

“Travel and hospitality firms have had to be both creative and practical to find new revenue streams in order to keep the lights on over the past very challenging year,” said Daniel Bunyan, managing director and travel industry lead at Accenture in Canada. “We have seen hotel rooms converted into pop-up restaurants while others have created a ‘third space’ for those looking for a temporary office setting outside of their home.”

The desire to work from a “third space” is accompanied by a shift in attitudes towards business travel, says the survey. More than half of Canadian respondents (53%) who normally travel for business expect to “reduce such activities in the future.”

Accenture says that while a timeline for reduced business travel remains to be seen, a return to travel will resume principally in the leisure market, pushing the industry to adapt and become even more efficient than it already has to make up for lost income.

Accenture/Newswire

Besides working from a “third place” (and even paying for it), the study says shopping habits have also evolved for the long haul.

Accenture’s study says the dramatic rise in e-commerce is likely to remain or accelerate further. For example, the study says the proportion of online purchases for Toronto products such as food, home décor, fashion, and luxury goods increased 373% since the outset of the pandemic — from Canadian e-commerce companies that had an “infrequent” online presence before March 2019.

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